FRESH Ideas for summer produce

Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 00:20 - Written by Christine Gardner

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 Zucchini and squash are two of the most prevalent vegetables of East Texas summer, and in this recipe both can be used in a unique, uncooked way.

This recipe was inspired from a salad I used to make while living in Italy. The zucchini and squash in Italy are much smaller. They do not let them grow to large sizes so they have a more delicate flavor.

When marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper – this dish offers fresh flavor and a great taste of summer. As part of the salad chapter in my cookbook “Favorite Flavor”, many people have told me it is one of their favorite recipes -- even when they made it with out of season zucchini and squash. Just imagine how good it can be during the peak of the summer season.

Another summer crop that gets less attention is tomatillos. These little green tomatoes that grow inside a husk are often misunderstood and many people aren’t sure how to use them.

In the Creamy Salsa Verde recipe, a quick poach of the tomatillos, after the removing the husk, makes them an easy ingredient to use in the recipe. Thin the salsa with more buttermilk or whole milk and you can easily use it as a sauce for chicken enchiladas. Be sure to adjust the seasonings as you increase the volume.


Lemon-Marinated Zucchini & Squash Salad



2 yellow squash

2 zucchini

1 large lemon, juice and zest

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper



Cut the ends off the squash and zucchini. Going down the length of the vegetables, peel off the top layer of skin and discard. Using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, continue to peel off very thin ribbon-like vertical slices. Place in a medium size bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice. Roughly chop crushed red pepper flakes and add to the bowl. Add remaining 3 ingredients and toss well. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold as a salad or side dish.



Creamy Salsa Verde



1 pound tomatillos

1/2 onion, rough chop

2 garlic cloves, rough chop

2 serrano peppers, seeds and ribs removed, rough chop

2 tablespoons cilantro, rough chop

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 avocado, mashed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk



Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Add tomatillos and cook for approximately 5 minutes. Shock the tomatillos in cold water to stop the cooking. Place all ingredients, except buttermilk, in a food processor or blender. Pulse to combine. While pulsing, drizzle in buttermilk until mixture reaches desired consistency. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes to let flavors combine.